Sunshine and a light but steady breeze greeted around 1,000 sailors competing in the second day's racing of the Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta today. The conditions only improved throughout the day - the breeze filling to a reasonably consistent 10-12 knot westerly throughout the extensive race area.
Racing was incredibly close in A division again today, but it was the new Beau Geste which continued to prove her dominance among the TP52s with line honours in all three races.
Combined with her results from yesterday, Beau Geste sits in a comfortable lead in the series results for A division. After her disappointing third on line in race 1 yesterday, helmsman Gavin Brady will doubtless be pleased with his crew's rapid improvement.
Local TP52 Kia Kaha and her amateur crew put in another day of solid performances, but it wasn't quite enough to hold onto second place in the series, Viento just nudging ahead of them by one point on IRC, and V5 taking a two-point lead over them on PHRF.
In B division, the owner of Lawless was shore-bound for the day, leaving his crew of young hot shots from the RNZYS Youth Development Squad to sail the boat without its captain. An early protest from Anarchy left race officials wondering if the youngsters were taking liberties, but whatever their tactics, they appear to be working, with Lawless currently sitting top of the board on IRC.
On General Handicap and PHRF, however, it's the boat with the lowest handicap in the division - Simply Red 2 - which is just holding Lawless off the top spot.
After yesterday, E division was just about anyone's game, but today was definitely Martin Clark's day, his green machine Vertigo taking out two of the three races today. Current series results put Tony Poolman's Elevation in pole position though, with a 6-point lead over Vertigo, and Cees Romeyn's Nexus in third.
The GC32s didn't disappoint again today, putting on a spectacular show. There was tense racing throughout, but despite gaining the lead at times, and even winning the last race of the day, it was clear Vodafone's lack of practice time around the cans was slowing them down, while Marwin consistently demonstrated slick turns at both top and bottom marks.
In the Tornado class, it's still Wayne Limbrick's Arriba in third position in the series results, with Bill Kidman's Yahoo Serious in fourth going into the final day's racing tomorrow.
In the sports boat division, brand new Shaw 7 Angry Dragon had a turn of fortunes, taking out only one of today's races, after yesterday's three-from-three winning streak.
Opua boat Orange Peeler took the win in the second of today's races, and in the final race it was Animal Biscuits on line, but Helter Skelter took out the win on General Handicap. However, it'll take more than a couple of slip-ups to knock the Angry Dragon off her perch at the top of the series results so far.
Young 88 Division
The Young 88s must have some of the closest racing in this year's regatta. The five boats competing have seldom finished more than a few minutes apart, and so far on general handicap results, every boat has won at least one race.
They've also proved beyond all doubt that you don't need to sail a TP52 to be serious about your racing, with starts frequently accompanied by abundant shouting.
After six races, it's Philip Rzepecky's Medium Dry in first, ahead of Vaughan Clark's Sweeney Todd, followed by Nigel Garland's Heartlight in third.
Things were looking all too familiar for the Royal New Zealand Navy this morning, as the Royal Navy claimed yet another victory over them. But in race 2, the RNZN pulled it out of the bag, crossing the line with a whisker-slim but all-important 29-second lead over the Brits. It was a short-lived celebration for NZ though, as the Brits came back at them in the final race of the day.
The Island Racing divisions enjoyed a brisk downwind run at the start today, setting kites as they crossed the start line, creating a magnificent spectacle for those watching.
The breeze held up for most of the course, but the Ninepin and its associated wind shadow caught a large part of the fleet out, and there were some tense calls for water around the rocks as boats drifted without steerage, until the breeze filled in again a short time later.
Provincial Cowboy holds the lead in Island Racing A after two races, while in Island Racing B it's Cadillac in the lead on General Handicap, while Tongue Twister, Share Delight and Namu are tied for first on PHRF.
Racing concludes tomorrow and the prize giving ceremony will be held at the Bay of Islands Sailing Week Race Village in Opua at 7.30pm.